Varicose Veins & Pregnancy
If it you don't know what varicose veins are, then count yourself as lucky. Unfortunately, this problem is one that many women fight with - and that over 40 percent of pregnant women experience sometimes during their pregnancy. What are varicose veins and how can you avoid getting them?
Hormones Play a Big Role
While you are pregnant, your body undergoes a great deal of changes. Your hormone levels change and result in changes in your body. One of these changes is that you often have an increased amount of progesterone. This can cause the blood vessels to relax, leading to varicose veins. Sometimes, if the blood vessels relax, the two halves of the valves in the veins will separate just a small amount, and won't meet back up to block the back-flow of blood. When this happens, you'll see varicose veins.
Family history is hard to run away from - and it is often the leading indicator of problems that you will have. If you have a history of varicose veins in your family, you're more likely to have varicose veins. This isn't something that you can afford or alter, unfortunately. The flip side is, of course, relevant as well. If you don't have a family history of varicose veins, then you are less likely to have them yourself. It is important to note, as well, that varicose veins tend to get worse with each pregnancy. If you have a family history, and you had them during your first pregnancy, chances are good that you'll have them in increasing strength in subsequent pregnancies.
The increased blood that you have in your body during pregnancy places extra burden on your veins. In addition, as your uterus grows, it creates pressure on the major veins in your pelvic area. This pressure then adds more pressure to the large vein on the right side of your body called the inferior vena cava. This added pressure pushes on the leg veins and may result in varicose veins during pregnancy.
Researchers have found a few other reasons that women may have varicose veins during pregnancy. If you are having multiple births, then you are more likely to develop varicose veins. This is partly due to the added pressure on your uterus and the added blood in your system. While this situation can't be changed, there are others that can. If you are overweight or stand on your feet for long periods of time while pregnant, you are more susceptible to varicose veins. Both of these situations put added pressure on your veins and can lead to varicose veins.
Prevention and Solutions...
While you certainly can't alter your family history or change your growing uterus, there are certain actions that you can take to help with varicose veins. When people tell you to put your legs up while pregnant - they may not realize that they are actually giving you varicose vein help. It is very important to put your legs up while pregnant, as it gives your veins a break and releases the pressure that is on them. You should try to make sure that you go into your pregnancy at a healthy weight and that you eat well while pregnant. The good news with varicose veins is that they usually disappear after the baby has arrived. They tend to improve three to four months after you've given birth. While you are still dealing with the varicose veins, it's best to wear support hose, to exercise often and to avoid standing for long periods of time.
If you find that the varicose veins don't go away, you'll want to talk to a doctor to discuss treatment. In general, however, varicose veins are simply one of the many bumps in the road along the pregnancy path. Keep your sense of humor while dealing with this, and any other trying situation during pregnancy, and know that you are working to a great end - a new baby!